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Discover the Top 10 Best Substitutes for Curry Powder in Recipes

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Explore the best alternatives to curry powder, all made from common ingredients to enhance your dishes! Whether you’re out of curry powder or looking to make homemade curry powder, these top 10 options will add depth and unique flavor to your cooking. Find the perfect substitute for curry powder in your next recipe here!

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Substitute for Curry Powder
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Have you ever been all set to whip up a delicious curry for dinner, but as you reach for your trusty curry powder, you realize it’s nowhere to be found? Panic sets in. What now? 

I’ll show you how to blend spices to make a curry powder substitute for recipes that will leave your taste buds happy.  

Before I lost 125 pounds I never tried Indian cuisine or any curry recipes. Now that I have lost weight I am much more adventurous and love Indian cooking. These substitutions for curry powder come in handy.

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Substitutes for curry powder

Why Substitute Curry Powder?

There could be many reasons for creating a homemade curry spice powder: 

  • Out of Curry Powder: Sometimes you just run out of curry powder and don’t want to run to the grocery store, so you need a quick alternative to complete your dish.
  • Custom Flavor: Creating your own spice mix allows you to customize the flavors based on your personal preference.
  • Allergy or Sensitivity: If you or someone you’re cooking for has an allergy or sensitivity to store-bought curry powder, making your mixture of spices allows you to control what goes into your dish.
  • Experimentation: Making a great substitute blend is a fun way to experiment with different spices and create unique flavor combinations.
  • Health Conscious: Some store-bought curry powder blends contain additives or high amounts of salt. Making your blend is a good option to ensure it’s free from unwanted additives and control the salt content.
  • Freshness: Homemade spice blends often contain fresh ingredients and have a more potent, complex flavor than store-bought versions. 

Whether you run out or you’re looking to experiment with different spice blends, whatever the reason, having a few alternatives to traditional curry powder can open up a world of culinary possibilities.

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What Can I Substitute For Curry Powder in a Recipe?

If you don’t have curry powder on hand or prefer not to use it, there are several alternatives you can use depending on the flavor profile you’re aiming for. Here are some of the best curry powder substitutes:

  • Garam Masala: This is a good substitute if you’re looking for a warm and aromatic spice blend. Garam masala typically contains spices like coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Turmeric: If you just need the yellow color and mild flavor that curry powder provides, turmeric powder is an excellent single-spice substitute. It’s often one of the main ingredients in curry powder and adds a warm, earthy flavor.
  • Cumin Seeds and Coriander Seeds:  Grinding the whole spices or using already ground spices – ground cumin and ground coriander can mimic the flavor profile of curry powder. Use equal parts of both spices for a balanced mix of spices.
  • Madras curry powder:  It packs a punch with its robust and spicy flavor. It typically contains a blend of chili powder, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek. Use it in place of regular curry powder for a bolder and spicier kick.
  • Red curry paste:  This paste combines red chilies, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic for a Thai-inspired fiery and aromatic flavor. Mix a tablespoon of red curry paste with coconut milk for a quick and flavorful curry base.
  • Cinnamon and Allspice Blend: For a sweet flavor, you can try a blend of ground cinnamon and allspice. This won’t give you the same curry flavor, but it can work in dishes where you want a hint of warmth and sweetness.
  • Green Curry Paste: If you have green curry paste on hand, you can use it as a substitute. Keep in mind that curry paste is more concentrated than curry powder, so use less and adjust to taste.
  • Cumin, Turmeric, and Ginger: A simple blend of these pantry staples -ground cumin, ground turmeric, and ground ginger can provide a similar flavor profile to curry powder. Use equal parts of each spice for a balanced substitute to the popular spice blend. This is my go-to blend.
  • Coriander, Cumin, and Fenugreek: This combination provides a similar flavor profile to curry powder. Ground fenugreek or fenugreek seeds ground into a fine powder add a slightly bitter, nutty taste characteristic of many curry powders. Use equal parts of ground coriander, ground cumin, and ground fenugreek for a well-rounded substitute.
  • Mustard Powder and Ground Ginger: Grinding black mustard seeds or using mustard powder and ground ginger can create a tangy and slightly spicy substitute for a spicy curry powder. Mustard powder adds a sharpness while ground ginger adds warmth and depth. Use equal parts of mustard powder and ground ginger to mimic the flavor of curry powder.

Remember that these substitutes may alter the flavor of your dish slightly, so it’s a good idea to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed.

If you want to create more of your own spice blends, check these out.

Homemade Spice Blends


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Ingredients in this Curry Powder Substitute for Recipes

You can find the full recipe card including ingredient quantities, full step-by-step instructions, and nutritional information below. It’s pretty simple.

You can use whole seeds and a spice grinder to make them into powder form or use already ground spices.

  • Ground Turmeric 
  • Ground Cumin or Cumin Seeds
  • Ground Ginger
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Ingredients for curry powder substitute

How to Make This Homemade Curry Powder Recipe

Place the spices into a spice grinder and blend until it reaches a fine powder. 

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Homemade Curry Powder Substitute

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Tips for Using Curry Powder Substitutes

  • Start Small: When using a new substitute, start with a small amount and taste as you go. You can always add more but it’s hard to undo too much spice!
  • Adjust to Taste: Everyone’s palate is different, so feel free to adjust the amount of individual spices to suit your preferences.
  • Pairing Suggestions: Consider the flavors of your dish and choose a substitute that complements them. For example, garam masala works well in creamy dishes, while Thai red curry paste is perfect for coconut-based curries. Do you like your curry dishes on the sweeter or spicier side?
  • Get Creative: Don’t be afraid to experiment to create a different flavor. You might just stumble upon a good curry powder substitute you love!

FAQ’s

What are the health benefits of curry powder?

Curry powder is a versatile spice blend that offers a range of potential health benefits due to its various ingredients. You can read more about the health benefits of curry powder here.


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Can I Use Paprika Instead of Curry Powder?

You can use paprika instead of curry powder, but it won’t replicate the full flavor of curry powder. However, it can add a nice color and mild flavor to your dish. Smoked paprika can provide a hint of smokiness as well.

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Homemade Curry Powder

Can I Use Turmeric Instead of Curry Powder?

You can use turmeric instead of curry powder if you just need the yellow color and mild flavor that curry powder provides. However, turmeric doesn’t offer the complexity of curry spice mixes. 

More Recipes You’ll Love!

Can I Substitute Garam Masala for Curry Powder?

This is a good substitute if you’re looking for a warm and aromatic spice blend. Garam masala typically contains spices like coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.


Substitute Curry Powder Recipe

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5-star rating and tell me how it went in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

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Substitute for Curry Powder

Whether you're out of curry powder or looking to make homemade curry powder, this simple curry powder substitute will add depth and unique flavor to your cooking.
Course Seasoning
Cuisine Indian
Keyword substitute for curry powder in recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 9 teaspoons
Calories 8kcal
Author Cindy Newland with Intentionally Eat

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric

Instructions

  • In a spice grinder, grind spices.
  • In a small bowl, mix all spices together.
  • Place a funnel in a spice bottle and pour the homemade curry powder substitute into the spice shaker.

Notes

Nutritional Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of this recipe may differ depending on the ingredients you use. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 tsp | Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g

Next time you find yourself without curry powder, don’t fret. With these versatile and flavorful substitutes, you can still whip up a delicious curry that will have your taste buds dancing. From the warmth of garam masala to the fiery kick of red curry paste, the world of curry powder alternatives is full of exciting possibilities. So, get adventurous in the kitchen, try a substitute for curry powder, and spice up your next meal like this spicy cauliflower soup!

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Cindy Newland with Intentionally Eat

​Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a medical professional. The information provided on this blog is based on my personal experiences and research as a vegan recipe enthusiast. While I strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns. The recipes and tips shared on this blog are meant for general informational purposes and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always prioritize your health and well-being by seeking personalized guidance from a qualified healthcare provider.

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2 Comments

  1. This is so intersting and I am pinning this one to come back to if I ever find I am out of this spice as it is always good to know substitues in a pinch. I have done this more and more recently and substitues work perfect so I appreciate you sharing and I also want to make some delicious Curry dishes too!

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